Grace Gems for June 2002

The Christian and the world?
by Octavius Winslow

The Christian may be compared to an individual
who has thrown off allegiance to his king, has
disowned his country, and refuses obedience to
its laws; yet continues to dwell in the land he
has renounced.

The grace of God has called us out of the world;
yet the providence of God has sent us into the
world.  We may, therefore, expect nothing but
hostility from the god of this world, and hatred
from the world itself.

The world will never forgive the act by which we....
   broke from its thraldom,
   renounced its sway,
   relinquished its pleasures, and
   resigned its friendships.

Cruel bondage!
(from Octavius Winslow's, "The Spirit of Adoption")

The world holds all its devotees in cruel bondage!

It enslaves....
  the intellect by its opinions,
  the heart by its pleasures,
  the imagination by its promises,
  the soul by its religion.

The garment of decency?
from Thomas Reade's, "On Love"

Formality and hypocrisy are two powerful
and successful agents of Satan. The enemy
of souls is not very anxious whether men
travel to hell by the road of profaneness or
false profession. The latter, being more
creditable, is generally the most frequented.

Gross vice startles the conscience; while the
garment of 'decency' thrown over the general
conduct, quiets the mind, and makes the
deluded sinner more easy in his sins.

"Blessed Lord, save me from the delusions of
 Satan, and the deceitfulness of my own heart.
 Let me know myself. Guard me against self
 deception, self love, and vain glory. Make me
 humble, simple, and sincere."

To free, sovereign, boundless
  love, be all the praise!
(from Thomas Reade's, "Christian Obedience")

The great design of Christ's coming into the
world, was to save sinners; to save them from
their sins; from this present evil world; and
from the wrath to come.

Were we deeply sensible of our deserts, as
sinners, we would be overwhelmed at the
sight of our mercies, so freely and abundantly
poured out upon us through Jesus Christ.

To free, sovereign, boundless
  love, be all the praise!

The envied spot, the imaginary paradise?
(from Thomas Reade's, "On True Happiness")

There is one important truth which cannot be too
deeply engraved on the heart, that TO BE HOLY
IS TO BE HAPPY. This truth, being once admitted,
accounts for the misery of thousands who are in
search of happiness. They mistake its real nature,
and the way which leads to it. They thirst, indeed,
for the refreshing stream, but find it not; because
their minds being unholy, they cannot discern (nor
even relish, if they could discern) the true felicity of man.

Where, then, is this sacred treasure to be found?

What shall we answer to the thousands who inquire,
"Who shall show us any good?" The blessed Gospel
reveals the important secret.

While worldly minds are toiling through the valley of
life to reach the envied spot, the imaginary paradise
of affluence, where happiness is supposed to dwell;
the humble Christian, living day by day on Christ by
faith, enjoys the real blessing in every situation and
condition of life.

Riches cannot confer happiness.

Grace can, and does.

Herein is the goodness of God strikingly manifested,
that true happiness is not the result of human
wisdom, power or grandeur. The poor may enjoy
it, while the most wealthy are destitute of it. The
illiterate may discern its excellence, while the wisest
philosophers may be blind to its beauty.

We see this continually verified.

The rich rejecting the true riches; the wise of this
world despising the true wisdom; the men, who
are struggling after happiness, refusing that Gospel
which alone can make them happy.

And why is this?

Because man is naturally blind to the things of God,
and his own true interest, until enlightened by the
Spirit of God. Truly, man by nature is dead in
trespasses and sins.

He is alive indeed to evil, and active in the pursuit
of earthly good; but towards God he is dead. His
heart has no impulsive feeling of love and gratitude.
His will has no holy bias in childlike simplicity and
obedience to his great Creator.

He is averse from God.

The carnal mind has not only no desires towards
God but is rooted in enmity against him. This is
the true state of man by nature. He is up in arms
against his Maker. Hence he is an object of deserved
condemnation. His natural conscience testifies
indeed against him. But he breaks through all
restraints, and sins with awful determination.

The only source of comfort; the only spring of joy
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Peace")

The world may appear smiling and happy,
but its appearances are deceitful.

This is a world of sin and trouble.

Here, thorns and thistles grow around us; painful
emblems of the human heart, and of the sad
change which passed on Adam at the fall.

Everything here in this world is fickle and changing.

If I rest my hopes upon an earthly friend, death
removes the prop, and I fall, and mourn, and weep.

If I place my confidence on riches, they fly
away as an eagle towards heaven, and leave
me to regret the folly of my covetous desires.

If I build upon the breath of fame, it dies
away, or changes into scorn or slander.

If I repose upon the rosy couch of earthly comforts,
however lawful and endearing, these lovely flowers
will quickly fade, and leave me nothing but the thorns.

Jesus is the only source of comfort; the only spring of joy.

The Monster Pride!
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Humility")

Pride and vanity cannot thrive at the foot of
the cross. It is only when we remove from this
holy ground, that they shoot out their pestiferous
branches in awful luxuriance.

True humility loves the sacred mount of Calvary,
on which the lowly Savior bowed his head and died!

There, repentance sheds the contrite tear.

There, faith views with joy the great atonement.

There, love glows with fervent desires to the Friend of sinners.

Man is naturally a proud, selfish creature.

He tries indeed to appear humble and unselfish,
but the monster Pride is easily seen through the
thin veil of false humility, which is thrown over its
frightful visage; while Self assumes a thousand
forms to escape detection.

It is only when the divine Spirit puts forth his
new creating power, through the instrumentality
of the everlasting Gospel, that the proud selfish
sinner becomes the lowly follower of the Lamb.

Humility is, then, the work of grace.

"Oh! Spirit of holiness, open my blind eyes to see
the wonders of your grace. Quicken my dead soul
to feel its sacred influence. Make me truly humble
in heart, emptied of every self exalting thought,
which would oppose the freeness of your love. Mold
my whole soul into the lowliness and meekness of
Jesus. Preserve me from the subtle influence of pride
and vain glory. Keep me ever low in my own eyes.
Root out every sinful, selfish principle; and give me
a single eye which aims at nothing but your glory."

Inbred sin?
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Unbelief")

It is also a melancholy truth, that unbelief is not
wholly eradicated from the hearts of believers.

Those who are in the habit of observing the secret
movement of their own spirit, will soon perceive how
this subtle evil lies at the bottom of all their languor
in devotion; their inertness of duty; their dullness in
spiritual perception, and their declensions from the
ways of God.

This acquaintance with our own heart will lead us to
the continued exercise of watchfulness and prayer,
through the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit.

A consciousness of inbred sin will cause us to
distrust ourselves, to look continually unto Jesus,
and have no confidence in the flesh.

This salutary fear, implanted in the heart through the
covenant love of God, alone can keep us from falling.

We shall walk over the slippery paths of this sinful
world with safety, when we tread with cautious step,
"leaning upon our beloved."

This knowledge of our inbred sin, when taught by
the Spirit of truth, in connection with the remedy
provided to remove it, even the atoning blood of
Jesus, causes the soul who receives it....
  to sink deep in self abasement;
  to rise high in heavenly affections;
  to renounce the vanities of the world; and
  to grow in a daily fitness for the inheritance of the saints in light.

"Blessed Savior! you who came down from the throne
of glory to die for poor perishing sinners, save me from
the deadly sin of unbelief. Enable me to rely upon you
with the simplicity of a little child. On you may I repose
my soul, for you did bear my sins in your own body on
the tree. Lord save me from self righteousness; from
the love of the world; from pride of heart; from fleshly
indulgence. Keep me near to yourself. Wash me daily
in your cleansing blood from every contracted defilement.
Clothe me with the robe of righteousness, with the
garment of salvation. Cause me to rejoice in you; to
live in the light of your countenance; to taste that you
are gracious; and to glorify you by a growing conformity
to your mind and will."

True faith!
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Faith")

True faith is not a mere passive impression,
or an inoperative notion. It is a holy principle
wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God,
producing gracious habits, holy affections,
filial reverence, and obedience.

True faith is seated in the heart, influencing
and purifying the whole inner man.

True faith unites the soul to Christ, as the
branch to the vine. It draws virtue from him,
whereby the believer is rendered fruitful in
every good work. The sweet fruits of the Spirit
appear and abound in rich luxuriance on these
favored branches, to the glory of God.

True faith feeds upon Christ continually, as
the true bread which came down from heaven,
of which, whoever eats shall live forever.

True faith works by love to God, his people, and
his word. It evidences its vitality by its fruits.

True faith purifies the heart from sin, waging
war against all internal and external evil.

True faith overcomes the world, both
when it smiles and when it frowns.

True faith views the glorious land of promise
as its own, and triumphs over all intervening
difficulties and dangers which bestrew its path
to Heaven.

True faith makes the believer confident, yet
watchful; bold, yet cautious; aspiring, yet humble.

He is confident, since the promises of God are
kindly given him to rest upon; watchful, since he
feels the deceitfulness of his rebellious heart.
Bold, since the honor of the Savior demands
his confession; cautious, lest he should be only
gratifying a proud spirit. Aspiring after that
honor which comes from God only; yet humble,
since he remembers his own vileness and utter
unworthiness of the least of the divine mercies.

If it be asked, how can faith effect such wonders?
The reply is, because faith is the gift of God, and
the power of God. The believer, abiding in Christ,
and deriving continual supplies of grace and
strength out of his fullness, becomes mighty
through this power which works in him mightily.
He is strengthened with might by his Spirit in
the inner man, to fight the good fight of faith,
and to lay hold on eternal life.

Weak and helpless in himself, he is strong in
the grace that is in Christ Jesus his Lord and
finally obtains the palm of victory through the
blood of the Lamb.

Thus, faith in Christ leads it to all true holiness.

Such is the faith of God's elect; a
faith which is according to godliness.


How terrible it will be

(from Thomas Reade's, "On Unbelief")

"How terrible it will be for you who sprawl on
ivory beds surrounded with luxury, eating the
meat of tender lambs and choice calves. You
sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and you
fancy yourselves to be great musicians, as King
David was. You drink wine by the bowlful, and you
perfume yourselves with exotic fragrances, caring
nothing at all that your nation is going to ruin."
Amos 6:4-6

But oh! what an awful change ensues,
when death strikes the fatal blow!

Instead of beds of ivory and couches of luxurious
ease, they lie down on the lake that burns with
fire and brimstone!

Instead of bacchanalian songs and the melody of
sweet music, they hear and join in the dreadful
concert, composed of weeping and wailing and
gnashing of teeth!

Instead of the delicious wine poured with profusion
into their golden bowls, they crave in vain for a drop
of water to cool their flaming tongues!

How terrible it will be!

Oh! that men were wise; that they understood
this, that they would consider their latter end!

What could move His heart towards us?
(adapted from Mary Winslow's, "Heaven Opened")

We were traveling the broad road to eternal
woe when Jesus met us and turned our feet
into the narrow road that leads to eternal life.

What could move His heart towards us?

It was love; love from everlasting, and love to
everlasting. And it is that same love that still
watches over us day by day, hour by hour,
moment by moment.

And although we often loath ourselves, His
love never varies. Is it not surprising that
He can love us while we hate ourselves?

But such is our Jesus.

He is ours, and we are His.

Many unruly and vain talkers?
(from Thomas Reade's, "Two Common Errors")

Many professing Christians are more ready to argue
a point in theology, than to crucify a beloved lust.

Those who are much acquainted with the religious
world, will find many theological disputants, but few
self denying followers of Jesus.

The apostle was compelled to say in his day:
"there are many unruly and vain talkers."

Such characters have been found in every age of
the church, to the annoyance of the humble Christian.

The Bible is not given to us for disputation, but
for edification; and its doctrines are designed to
have a practical tendency on the mind and heart.

It is no small craftiness of Satan to engage the
mind about non essentials, and to beget among
Christians a spirit of strife and contention.

(from Thomas Reade's, "The Thorns in the Parable")

"The thorny ground represents those who hear
 and accept the message, but all too quickly the
 message is crowded out by the cares and riches
 and pleasures of this life. And so they never
 grow into maturity." Luke 8:14

Few Christians seem to consider that even
lawful pleasures, when too eagerly pursued,
become sources of pain, by secretly alienating
the heart from God.

Hence we have need to guard against giving
too much of our mind and time to those pursuits
which may insensibly draw us off from private
devotion and the daily duties of social life.

Lawful things are not always beneficial; and, if
abused or used to excess, they become injurious.

Society is pleasant; yet it becomes a snare, if it
leads us from our secret chamber by its incessant
attractions, and thus make us strangers to God
and our own hearts.

We are everywhere surrounded with danger.

Each pleasure has its poison, and each sweet its snare.

And yet, how fleeting!

Worldly delights resemble the rose, which
droops almost as soon as gathered.

Oh! then, let us be upon our guard, against
delusive pleasures, which, by their smiling face
and winning form, would steal away our hearts,
and rob us of eternal glory.

Worldly pleasures, like Solomon's many wives,
entice the soul to idolatrous attachments and
departure from God.

How insipid are the boasted pleasures of the
world, when compared with the soul reviving
delights, which a God of mercy has provided
for the enjoyment of Christian pilgrims!

Miserable while in quest of happiness?
(from Thomas Reade's, "The Thorns in the Parable")

Man has a natural thirst after happiness; but,
being blinded through the fall, and having all his
appetites vitiated, he is continually seeking that
from the world, which can only be found in God.

Fallen man, like Cain of old, is a fugitive.

He is ever flying from the presence of his Creator,
who is the source and center of true felicity.

He is daily committing two evils: "They have
 forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and
 have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns
 that cannot hold water." Jeremiah 2:13
Hence he is miserable while in quest of happiness.

He drinks of the intoxicating wine of carnal gratification;
revels for a time in sensual pleasure; and if he awakens
to sober recollection, feels a thousand stings, which too
often drive him to despair and death.

Varnish over the old Adam?
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Watchfulness")

While we are in an unrenewed state, we are
under the dominion of sin. We naturally love it,
and are captivated by it; for our heart is only
evil continually.

Common prudence and worldly interest, as
well as natural conscience, may prevent an
unconverted man from committing many crimes
which would outrage society.

The fear of punishment and the dread of public
infamy may operate to the prevention of those
evils, which would bring a man under the lash of
the violated laws of his country.

The certain consequence of disease and poverty
attendant on some vices, proves a partial check
to their commission; though, alas! too weak to
arrest the general torrent of licentiousness .

Thus, by the constant operation of these inferior
motives, and through the goodness of a restraining
providence, we are happily preserved from that
inundation of iniquity, which would otherwise
destroy the fabric of society.

There are, it is true, many of amiable character to
be found, even among those who are hostile to
the spirit of the Gospel, who may be considered
as ornaments in the midst of surrounding depravity
and pollution. Polite education and civilized society
can varnish over the old Adam.

But these amiable worldlings reject, as fanatical,
those unwelcome declarations of Scripture, which
assert the radical corruption of our nature, and the
absolute necessity of being born again of the Spirit.

In the midst of all this boasted morality; this vaunted
amiability of temper; this studious endeavor to appear
honorable in the eyes of each other; we perceive....
  no filial fear of God;
  no hatred of sin;
  no delight in holiness;
  no cordial reception of the blessed Jesus as
    the only Savior from guilt and pollution;
  no self abhorrence;
  no watchfulness against the sins of the heart;
  no deadness to the vanities and smiles of the world.

Under every garb, the carnal mind is enmity against God.

The road to hell

(from Reade's, "The Cautions and Warnings of Scripture")

The love of the world is a whirlpool down
which millions are carried into perdition.

Carnal ease and sensual indulgence
form the road to hell.

(from Reade's, "The Cautions and Warnings of Scripture")

How prone we are to be proud, although
we have nothing to be proud of! Our hearts
are strongly inclined to pride, which is the
very essence of the fall. Pride cast angels
out of heaven, and man out of paradise.
Pride fights against the mercy of God; bars
the sinner's heart against the Savior; and
hurries the proud rebel down the precipice
of desperation into the burning gulf of hell!

Self dependence and carnal security are
those fatal props by which thousands are
upheld through the delusions of Satan,
until they drop into everlasting misery.

"Blessed Jesus! clothe me with humility;
 destroy this baneful root of pride out of
 my heart; and make me meek and lowly;
 resigned to all Your wise disposals,
 however painful they may be."

Naturally blind
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Christian Privilege")

Man is naturally blind to his real condition, as a
guilty, condemned sinner. Enjoying the pleasures
of time, he never inquires after those of eternity.

Satisfied with earth, he feels no desire for
heaven, except as it presents to his mind
an exemption from pain and suffering.

All men naturally prefer ease to pain. Hence
heaven on this account is preferable to hell.
Such is the estimate which wretched fallen
man forms of heavenly bliss!

Ignorant of himself, and ignorant of God,
he is led captive by Satan at his will, until
Sovereign Grace redeems him out of the
hand of the enemy.

Unwholesome talk
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Christian Conversation")

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of
 your mouths, but only what is helpful for building
 others up according to their needs, that it may
 benefit those who listen." Ephes. 4:29

We ought never to speak unfavorably, not even
by insinuation, of absent people, except when duty
positively requires it; and even then, there should
be a marked and sincere regret that the occasion
calls for such an exposure of character.

We must guard against attributing wrong motives
to the actions of others, even when appearances
might favor such a conclusion; remembering that
God alone knows the heart. Who are we, that we
should judge our brother?

We should avoid every thing that borders upon
flattering adulation, especially towards those
who are present; knowing how pernicious praise
is to a fallen creature, and how few are able to
withstand its influence. This does not exclude a
proper commendation, or a suitable encouragement,
when dictated by Christian simplicity and prudence.

We must not indulge in those exaggerations, those
strong hyperboles, those embellished representations,
which seem to give force to conversation, but which
actually destroy its delicacy and beauty. This mode
of speaking, by stretching out too far, touches upon
the confines of falsehood.

Truth appears most beautiful in its own native simplicity.

Christian conversation is marked by love, humility, and purity.

Love leads us to converse with delight on all subjects
connected with the glory of God and the good of man.

Humility draws a veil over her own graces, and
delicately discovers the excellencies of others. It
frankly confesses her own faults, and carefully
conceals the failings of others.

Purity, like the refreshing rose, sheds a fragrance
peculiarly its own over our whole conversation; and,
like that lovely flower, leaves its reviving scent when
we are gone.

How different from the conversation of the wicked,
whose throat is compared in Scripture to an open
sepulcher; loathsome and offensive, disgusting
and pestilential.

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on
 the day of judgment for every careless word they
 have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted,
 and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37

"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
  keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3

The Christian pilgrim
(from Thomas Reade's, "The Two Ways")

The Christian pilgrim has to journey to the
heavenly Canaan, through the wilderness of
this world; therefore, like the Israelites of old,
his soul is sometimes discouraged because of
the difficulty of the way.

The world frowns!

Satan assaults!

Providences darken!

Corruptions harass!

All these things produce, for a season, much
discouragement. Like Peter, he looks at the raging
waves, instead of the omnipotent Savior; and then
he begins to sink into despondency, and would be
overwhelmed in the depths of mental affliction,
did not the compassionate Jesus stretch out His
hand of mercy, and uphold him by His mighty power.

Thus, to every humble pilgrim, strength is imparted;
realizing views of the faithfulness of Emmanuel are
granted; and he is made to rise superior to every
discouragement, and to walk, with increasing
alacrity and joy, along the narrow way which
leads unto life eternal.

Fiends at home
(from Thomas Reade's, "Following the Lord Fully")

No truth can do us any personal good, but as
it influences and purifies our heart and life.

What can we think of those professors, who, while
they appear saints abroad, are fiends at home?

Can it be a matter of surprise, that they should feel
no real satisfaction either in religion or in the world?

They profess so much religion, as to render them
the objects of the world's derision; and yet, they
possess too little of its power to enable them to
taste the sweets of genuine piety.

Hence, they grow morose in their temper, and
uncharitable in their spirit. They are quick sighted
in discovering the mote in a brother's eye, while
utter strangers to the beam in their own.

They are spots and blemishes in the visible church!

The idol, SELF, falls prostrate before Jesus Christ!
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Conversion")

When the Savior was born into the world, there
was no room for Him in the inn. Just so it is with
our depraved hearts still.

Satan tempts with the threefold hindrances
of unbelief, pride, and prejudice.

Inbred sin, afraid of losing its darling gratifications,
opposes every effort to admit so kind a Friend.

The flesh pleads hard for self indulgence.

The world spreads...
   its painted baubles,
   its deceitful riches,
   its empty honors,
   its intoxicating pleasures.

So thus the sinner is held in vassalage
to the powers of darkness.

Is, then, the heart forever barred against the
Prince of peace? Forever barred it would be, did
not sovereign grace, by its almighty power, drive
out the strong man armed, crucify each rebellious
lust, and bring every thought into captivity to the
obedience of Christ.

When grace opens the sinner's heart, all the
powers of the soul are made willing to admit
the conquering Savior, and to acknowledge
Him to be the Lord.

Old favorite sins now become hateful.

Darling lusts appear like inbred vipers.

Satan is beheld in all his horrors.

Vice in perceived its true deformity.

The world loses its charms.

Heaven opens on the enraptured eye of faith.

Holiness captivates the heart by its celestial beauties.

Jesus is beheld with rising admiration, and
becomes each day more precious to the soul.

Such is the wonderful change wrought in the
conversion of a sinner, through the power of
the Holy Spirit.

Unbelief gives way to faith;
pride gives way to humility;
anger gives way to meekness;
impatience gives way to resignation;
hatred gives way to love, and
sin gives way to universal holiness.

The idol, SELF, falls prostrate before Jesus Christ;
and nothing is extolled, or trusted in, or pleaded
before the throne of God, but the precious blood
and righteousness of Emmanuel.

All glory is now given to the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit; and the Triune God is ALL in ALL.

This disclosure is revolting to our pride!
(Thomas Reade's, "Inadequate Views of Human Nature")

We see many dancing along in thoughtless gaiety,
and sporting on the brink of perdition. But this
lightness of spirit is transient; sorrow soon darkens
the glare of human happiness, and leaves the soul
in sad dejection and despair.

The world is full of mourning, lamentation, and woe.

This picture may be gloomy, yet it is true.

Sin has defaced the moral excellence of man;
yes, more, has converted him into whatever is
base, polluted, and depraved.

All his faculties and powers are now employed
as weapons against his Maker; and the very plan
of mercy, whereby alone he can be restored to
holiness, happiness, and heaven, is opposed,
neglected, or despised.

And yet we talk....
  of moral excellence in a fallen creature;
  of goodness in a heart which is desperately wicked;
  of amiable qualities in a mind at enmity against God;
  of strength in a helpless worm;
  of wisdom in a soul beclouded in all its powers.

Strange inconsistency!

The Word of God condemns such a motley
character, and pronounces a woe on that
which the world so much admires.

It is no uncommon thing to hear people talk
about their good hearts and good intentions;
when love to God, and a desire to please Him,
are utter strangers to their soul.

These 'self admiring people' consider as libelous
every attempt to tear away the mask, and to
expose the native vileness of the inner man.

Thus, pride, vanity, 'self love', and unbelief; the
deadly roots from where all sin springs, conspire
to keep us in a state of bondage, and enveloped
in the mist of error.

It is quite compatible with the vanity of our fallen
nature, to extol, as the highest excellence, those
benevolent and patriotic feelings which often exist
in a heart totally alienated from God.

But the Bible acknowledges no real virtue,
except that which arises from the regenerating
work of grace upon the soul.

An attentive reader of that Holy Book must be
struck with the faithful delineations which it gives
of the human heart. Man is there represented as
he appears in the sight of God, when divested
of all his meretricious ornaments.

The Scripture has concluded all under sin. In this
state, grace at first finds the sinner. By nature,
there is no movement of the soul towards God; no
affection for Him; no trust in Him; no obedience to Him.

What we call virtues, will be found, when analyzed,
to be mere selfish principles; and human applause
to be the secret spring of many a splendid action.

This disclosure is revolting to our pride!

But proud man must be humbled!

Let me not grovel here below
"Blessed Jesus! You who are the kind Physician
 of souls, heal this fatal distemper of my fallen
 nature; an earthly mind. Spiritualize my affections;
 elevate my views; enlarge my heart. Fill my soul
 with your own self. Let me not grovel here below,
 fond of the perishing vanities of time. Wean my
 heart from the transitory enjoyments of sense,
 and fix my affections upon Yourself, the eternal
 unchanging source of good."
(Thomas Reade, "On the Deceitfulness of the Heart")

In this deplorable condition?
(Thomas Reade, "On the Design of the Gospel")

What a dreadful change sin has made in man!

His heart, once the abode of peace and every
heavenly disposition, is now....
  the cage of every unclean and hateful bird;
  a den of wild beasts;
  a nest of vipers;
  a loathsome sepulcher.

In this deplorable condition grace finds us, and
from this state of wretchedness grace redeems us!

Cast your care upon Him who cares for you!
(from Thomas Reade's, "Divine Sovereignty")

There is something peculiarly soothing to the
heart of a pious Christian; to know that He who
rules over all worlds, in whose hands are the
destinies of nations, and who guides the
minutest concerns of families and individuals,
is his Father and his Friend.

The more we know of God, of His power, wisdom,
love, faithfulness, and truth; the more we shall
bow before His throne in humble adoration, and
filial confidence and love.

To know God in Christ; to know him as our God; is
to possess all the sources and secrets of true peace,
in the midst of surrounding storms and tempests.

This knowledge will raise us above the agitated
elements of the world, and place us in that pure
region where the soul can breathe more freely,
and expand her powers more fully.

Faith views with admiration the perfections of Jehovah.

Hope rests the fulfillment of her expectations on these perfections.

Love delights in them, and gradually assimilates the soul to them.

While patience calmly waits, under every changing
dispensation, for that abundant harvest of rich blessings,
which the God of truth has promised, and which His
faithfulness will perform.

Cast your care upon Him who cares for you; and, under
every trying event, be still, and know that He is God.

"Oh! divine Redeemer, out of whose inexhaustible
 fullness I would daily draw a rich supply of grace
 into my needy soul, be pleased to impart unto me
 an undivided heart; that to please You, may be my
 greatest happiness, and to promote Your glory my
 highest honor. Preserve me from false motives, from
 a double mind, and a divided heart. Keep me entirely
 to Yourself, and enable me to crucify every lust,
 which would tempt my heart from You. Enable me
 by Your grace to walk in one uniform path of holy,
 childlike obedience. When tempted to turn aside to
 the right hand or to the left, may I keep steadily
 Your way, until brought before Your throne, I see
 Your face, behold Your smile, and fall in ecstasy
 at Your feet, lost in wonder, love, and praise."
(Thomas Reade, "On the Blessedness of a New Heart")

True faith!
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Unbelief")

True faith is lively, operative, and fruitful.

True faith works by love, that sacred spring
which sets all the wheels of obedience in motion.

True faith purifies the heart, by uniting the soul to
Jesus, and drawing from Him through the Spirit,
continual supplies of grace and strength, to mortify
sin, and walk in the ways of holy obedience.

True faith overcomes the world, by raising the
believer above its vanities and follies; by enabling
him to renounce its pomps and honors; and to
live as a pilgrim and stranger upon earth.

True faith realizes the invisible glories of heaven,
and thus becomes the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen.

Lord Jesus, make me . . .
  humble, while I meditate on your humility;
  loving, while I think upon your love;
  holy, while I dwell upon your purity;
  just, while I contemplate your righteousness;
  merciful, while I behold your grace;
  joyful, while I review your everlasting covenant.

Oh! fill my heart with gratitude, and my mouth
with praise. To you, blessed Jesus, do I look.
Remove all spiritual darkness from my mind;
all spiritual deadness from my heart.

Cause me....
  to know you as my Savior;
  to follow you as my leader;
  to love you as my friend;
  to trust in you as my atonement;
  to be found in you as my righteousness;
  to feed on you as the living bread;
  to walk in you as the way to the Father; and
  to dwell with you in heaven forever.

Oh! my God, when I contemplate your sovereign
will, which, from eternity, in highest wisdom,
consulted my welfare, I am lost in astonishment!

When I reflect upon your omnipotence, omniscience,
and omnipresence; upon your infinite holiness,
inviolable justice, and unerring wisdom; upon your
faithfulness, and truth; your everlasting love, your
sovereign grace, and your patience; how am I filled
with awe and dread!

Yet faith can contemplate this bright display of
uncreated excellence, and rejoice in the infinite
perfections as exhibited and harmonized in Jesus,
the incarnate Word. Here I behold, as in a glass,
the glory of the Lord. Oh! that while beholding,
I may be transformed into the lovely image of the
Savior, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit
of the Lord.
(Thomas Reade, "On the Immensity of God")

(Thomas Reade, "On Insensibility to Eternal Things")

Sin is a daring rebellion against the Majesty
of heaven; and would if it were possible, pluck
the Eternal God from His throne!

Every particle of sin contains an infinity of
evil, and deserves everlasting damnation!

Sin transformed the angels of light into demons
of darkness. Sin rendered the happy pair in Eden
wretched outcasts in a world of woe. Sin was
the cause of the universal deluge, and the fiery
overthrow of the cities of the plain. Sin has
ever marked its steps by misery and blood.

Pride, malice, envy, murmuring, uncleanness,
and every abomination hateful to a holy God,
and destructive to our wretched race, spring
from this poisonous root.

But, Oh! my soul, if you would view sin in
darkest colors and most terrible effects....
go to Bethlehem, and ask, "Why did the King
of heaven become infant of days? Why was He
who fills all space, wrapped in swaddling
clothes and laid in a manger?"

Go to Gethsemane, and ask, "Why did the
incarnate God agonize, and sweat great drops
of blood?"

Go to Calvary, and ask, "Why did the innocent
suffer such indignities? Why was the guiltless
condemned to die? Why did the Lord of glory
hang on the accursed tree? Why did the Lord of
life condescend to pour out his soul unto death?"

Let this view of sin, and of a sin bearing Savior
humble you in his presence; and empty you of
pride and vain glory.

Let it, at the same time, fill you with gratitude
to God, for having provided such a remedy against
the evils of the fall.

Sin, even your sin, nailed, pierced, and agonized the
Lord of glory! Oh! then, hate sin, and avoid it as you
would tremble to plunge a spear into your Savior's
bosom; as you would shudder to trample under foot
His sacred blood.